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The Ice Man lives up to his nickname against La Monf in Indian Wells

Casper “The Ice Man” Ruud has prevailed in an epic clash of UTS players at the Indian Wells Masters this Wednesday, defeating Gael “La Monf” Monfils 3-6, 7-6 (3), 6-4 in the round of 16.

The pair fought it out on court for just under two-and-a-half hours, with The Ice Man coming up clutch in the deciding set thanks to an early break of serve.

This is now Ruud’s best-ever start to an ATP season, with the Norwegian sitting at 15-3. He’s now also making his deepest run at Indian Wells, having never made it past the third round previously.

The Ice Man remains cool in third set

Across his UTS career, one statistic stands out for Ruud: he has never lost a sudden death match. Living up to his nickname of being cool, calm and collected, The Ice Man has carried this form over to the ATP Tour this year.

While La Monf started the stronger of the two in their round of 16 encounter, winning the first set 6-3, it was Ruud who held his nerve better to come away with the win. Monfils out-hit Ruud by 27 winners to 23, and made half the number of unforced errors, and yet it was the Ice Man who played the better tennis when it mattered.

First, Ruud stepped his game up in the second set tiebreak, playing brilliant tennis to close out the breaker 7-3. Then, he gained a crucial break in the third set, capitalising on one of his six break points against the Frenchman. From here he was able to stay ahead and close out the match expertly.

The Ice Man’s habit of winning deciding sets has become a trend, with the 25-year-old winning three such matches in Acapulco earlier this month, to go with a five-set victory in Melbourne earlier this year.

Next up, Ruud will play either Luca Nardi, who defeated Novak Djokovic in the third round, or Tommy Paul. Should he prevail in his quarter-final, The Ice Man will be guaranteed to face another UTS player in the semi-finals, with Daniil “The Chess Master” Medvedev, Grigor “G-Unit” Dimitrov, Taylor “The Hotshot” Fritz and Holger “The Viking” Rune all in the opposing section of the draw.